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North Carolina asks legislative move on unemployment benefits expansion

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Aug 14, 2020 - 07:29 AM

LMBC NEWS – To cushion the impacts of Covid-19, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has asked Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger to expand unemployment benefits for North Carolinians.

Unemployment benefits in the state is currently among the lowest in the nation and was even worsened by the effects of the pandemic to the labor sector.

In his letter, Cooper has appealed on legislative officials to take action by expanding the time frame and the amount available for the state unemployment benefits.

He said his administration has already begun preparing the application for the unemployment payments per the terms of the recent executive order of President Donald Trump.

Trump’s executive order would provide an additional $400 per week, of which $300 will be sourced by the federal government and the remaining $100 would come from the states.

“I refuse to let North Carolinians suffer because Congress and the President have been unable to get the job done and you have failed to help the unemployed,” Cooper said in his letter, stressing that the Congress and the President should provide more reliable help for the unemployed.

“Congress and the President should approve the full federal supplement of $600 per week in unemployment compensation. While I appreciate your new-found interest in helping people who are unemployed through no fault of their own, you as legislators should do more,” he said.

He lamented that the Congress and the President “have failed to remedy” the worst state of unemployment benefits in the state.

“When you return on Sept. 2, you should extend state unemployment benefits to at least 24 weeks (it’s now the lowest in the country at 12 weeks) and increase the maximum weekly state benefit to at least $500 (it’s now $350),” he said.

He urged the President and the Congress to agree on more reliable help for the unemployed as North Carolina awaits the federal guidance for the new $300 per week benefit.

“In the interim, North Carolina should fund its $100 state share from North Carolina’s Unemployment Trust Fund and not the remaining federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) money. With no federal help in sight, CRF money should be reserved for additional critical pandemic needs like helping small businesses, schools and health care,” he said.

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